Australia has set an ambitious target to plant 1 billion trees by 2050 in an effort to fight climate change, enhance natural landscapes, and boost the nation’s overall economic prosperity.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the tree planting iniative, a component of the new National Forest Industries Plan, will remove 18 million tons of greenhouse gases every year between now and 2030. Morrison added that this reduction in greenhouse gases will allow Australia to meet its Paris climate agreement targets "in a canter."
“Australia’s forest industries are part of the solution to climate change,” Morrison announced in a statement. “I'm interested in growing more trees and growing more jobs — it's as simple as that.”
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According to Morrison, the AUD 12.5 million tree planting initiative will work to support tens of thousands of jobs.
“Around 52,000 Australians are directly employed in growing and processing our forest products,” he announced. “Tens of thousands of additional jobs are indirectly supported by a sector that contributes more than AUD 23 billion to the national economy.”
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Four preliminary tree planting hubs will be set up in New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, and along the South Australia and Victoria border. An additional five hubs will be developed in 2020.
The new measures follow a recent report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which revealed Australia needed to sharply cut carbon emissions in order to honor its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2030. The nation currently creates over 500 million tons of CO2-equivalent each year.
"Australia’s emissions are projected to increase by 2030,” the OECD report stated. “Australia needs to develop a long-term strategy that integrates energy and climate policies. The country will fall short of its climate targets without a major effort to move to a low-carbon model.”
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Despite the stark findings, Morrison has long remained confident Australia will meet the targets. With the new tree planting initiative in tow, it seems Australia could be closer than ever to making the climate objectives a reality.
“If there’s anything that Australia should be known for, it is that when we make commitments, we stick with them,” he stated. “We will meet our 2030 Paris climate agreement targets at a canter.”